How to become successful


Kevin Mangelschots

People are more alike than they are different. This applies to all of us.

However, some unique individual deviations make for seemingly different personalities with varying perspectives, behavior, and thus, different levels of success. Yet, I think almost everyone can learn how to become more successful.

Now, prosperity is an abstract concept and depends on the way you measure it. But regardless of how you quantify it, the way to accomplish it remains roughly the same.

How to become successful in life

Picture of a man jumping over a cliff. A symbolic jump from failure to success.

  1. Set goals

    It’s hard to become successful at something when you don’t even know what you’re aiming at.

    To reach whatever goal(s) you set, you must know what road you must wander. It also helps you to recognize whether you’re still on the right track or not.

    That’s why you need to set multiple long-term goals for yourself and break them up into short-term goals. These short-term ends will provide you with some sort of measurement instrument to figure out how well you’re progressing toward your long-term goals.

  2. Take responsibility

    The easy thing to do if something goes wrong, or not as you had originally planned is to blame outside sources like other people or the fact ‘that the world is against you’.

    Now, I’m not saying that everything that goes wrong is automatically your fault or under your control, but there is often at least something that you could’ve done better or differently to get better results.

    That’s why you need to take responsibility for your actions. You can only control your behavior, and not the acts of the people around you. That’s why you should try your best to lead by example.

  3. Work hard and develop healthy, useful routines

    No matter how talented and intelligent you are, the difference between being merely outstanding at something is hard work and dedication.

    There will be moments when your motivation starts to dwindle. And that’s where good micro routines come into play. Beneficial customs allow us to reach our goals, even when our motivation starts dropping.

    Just randomly working hard won’t allow us to thrive most of the time, either. You have to work hard AND be smart. Develop clear, healthy, and intelligent micro routines that work for you rather than against you to achieve the best results.

  4. Stay motivated

    It’s hard to be motivated when you haven’t figured out what you enjoy, and want to become in life. To be motivated, you must first find out where your passions and interests lie.

    Now, motivation isn’t a steady, linear line. There will be days when you will be supremely motivated, and there will be days, or even weeks when you aren’t driven in the slightest. Staying motivated also means knowing when to take a step back, and when it’s time to put your feet up to relax.

    In case you are wondering, the following post does a great job explaining the psychology of motivation which you can use to your advantage when pursuing your dreams.

  5. Think long-term rather than short term

    Short term and long term written with a black marker by someone's hand on a board.

    Being prospering doesn’t come overnight.

    It’s often a hard and tedious process, which implies that it often takes a while with seemingly little to no results before you start seeing progress.

    It is necessary to think about the long haul rather than the short term to keep going. There’s a reason prices are distributed at the finish line and not in the beginning, or on the road towards the finish line.

    Write down your short-term goals to achieve your long-term goals. In this instance, journaling is the way to go to visualize your dreams and to track your progress.

  6. Delay gratification

    To be successful, you need to sacrifice a bit of the immediate gratification, so you can reach your long-term goals and thus, get an even bigger, yet delayed gratification.

    Being successful in school as in getting your degree for example means you’ll have to study, complete your tasks on time, and skip the occasional party to graduate. A lot of folks don’t want to forego these instant pleasures since they satisfy the senses, yet these are some of the things you should do to graduate.

    However, when looking at the future, this means you’ll get your degree, can exercise the job you desire, and have a safety net in the form of a degree. Not to mention the potential to earn more money and gain more opportunities to promote at work.

  7. Focus on the things you can control

    Focusing on the things you can control rather than the things you can’t manipulate is a good general rule in life, and will save you many headaches.

    We regularly concentrate far too much on the negatives and worry excessively about things we can’t do anything about. Continuously thinking about all the stuff we can’t control will lead to antagonistic emotions like anger, jealousy, feeling helpless, and even anxiety.

    To combat this, try concentrating on the things that are under your direct power. Your life and the lives of those around you will improve as a result.

  8. Stay consistent

    Words written are, “consistency is” with a key displayed afterwards.

    Perhaps the single most critical thing to do to become successful in life is to remain consistent.

    A lot of us start driving, but sooner rather than later, our motivation starts to decrease and all our good intentions and goals we started with tend to fade away.

    Motivation gets you started, but consistency gets you there.

    Developing good micro routines is important to reach your goals for those specific times when your motivation dwindles, and need something else to keep you going.

  9. Focus on the positives rather than the negatives

    Life is hard and eventually, we all die. That’s just the harsh reality of life.

    Still, there are also a lot of great things happening in our lives right now. You just need to take the time and have the right focus to see them.

    Remember, you only see what you concentrate on. Thus, thinking negatively, and only centering on the pessimistic things in existence will make you see what’s going wrong, while concentrating on the advantageous stuff allows you to see all the good in the world, and what’s going right. You should aim to balance both, as each can have its perks.

  10. Never stop learning

    The quote, “today is the day to learn something new” written in colored letters on a white background.

    Another essential tip to be successful in life is to employ a lifelong learning mindset.

    It’s impossible to learn everything in one lifetime. This universe is simply too vast and complex, and our cognitive abilities too limited to acquire all that knowledge in one go.

    While you can be extremely intelligent in one area of life, there will be areas where you are not as gifted. Like everyone else, we have our unique strengths and imperfections.

    Successful people try to learn as much as they can from everything, and everyone around them, no matter how small these things might seem.

  11. Keep an open mind

    You must keep an open mind if you’re willing to learn.

    If your mind is closed off because you’re already completely convinced you know everything there is to know about life, while being certain about your views and prejudices, then there is no ability to learn anything new.

    Try to maintain multiple perspectives, and concentrate on reaching the truth, rather than protecting your views. Sometimes, parts of your personal beliefs, or even personality need to die off for your views and yourself to be reborn and transformed into something new and better.

  12. Know how much they don’t know

    There’s so much to learn and know about life, which is impossible to accomplish during our lifetime.

    Prosperous people know where their perks lie and what they’re good at. But most importantly, they know their failings, and how much they don’t know.

    Realizing and acknowledging how much you don’t recognize will help you to keep an open mind, while simultaneously maintaining you humble as well.

    Remember that arrogance hinders, or stops personal growth completely.

  13. Network with other people

    Image of multiple business people discussing work together.

    It’s difficult to reach attainment on your own. Everyone needs a bit of help now and then.

    Networking with other people and keeping a close-knit relationship with those around you will allow you to reach your goals at a much faster rate.

    Even though every individual wants to accomplish their ends, it makes the world a better place when we aid other people to become prospering.

  14. Don’t listen to the naysayers

    A lot of people will not like it when you are doing better than them in life, for varying explanations.

    Their reasons for trying to keep you down can come from various negative emotions such as jealousy, hatred, inadequacies, and so on.

    All I have to say about this subject is that you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers. Set your own goals, believe in yourself, walk your path, and work hard to reach your dreams.

    To end on a positive note, there are probably a lot of people who like to see you succeed as well. So focus more on those optimistic and kind people rather than on unfavorable individuals.

Key success factors

Two keys lying on a blanket.

  • IQ

    One of the key success factors is IQ since it allows us to learn quicker, and work at a faster rate. It’ll also permit us to see the connection between multiple subjects, meaning we can gain an improved understanding of life itself.

    And while a lot of people find this an uncomfortable fact since we can’t change our fluid intelligence, it’s still the reality. We must learn to work with what Mother Nature gave us. We play the cards we’re dealt.

    IQ is also called the intelligence quotient. And it fluctuates a bit with age.

    We differentiate between two different kinds of intelligence. Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.

    Fluid intelligence

    Image of a smart woman writing instructions on a blackboard.

    Fluid intelligence involves the ability to recognize patterns and relationships between objects or situations. It is the ability to think logically and to participate in problem-solving behavior.

    Fluid intelligence decreases with age. Studies have shown that exercising is the best way to preserve IQ and cognitive functions as we get older. Perhaps because of improved blood and oxygen circulation in the brain, and since it stimulates the mind.

    Crystallized IQ

    Crystallized IQ refers to the wisdom and knowledge that’s gathered during a person’s lifetime.

    It is based on someone’s past learning experiences and is based on facts.

    Contrary to fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence increases with age because we tend to gain life experience when we grow older.

    IQ is the single most important factor to become successful.

  • Conscientiousness

    Image of Carl Jung with the quote, “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate” written next to him in white letters on a black background.

    Conscientiousness is the second most critical key success factor since success is hard to obtain, and thus, lots of hard work and time need to be spent to reach it.

    It stands for someone’s willingness to put in the effort and to perform their task or work as well and thoroughly as possible.

    People who are conscientious work diligently to accomplish their goal(s), which leads to an increased chance of becoming successful.

  • Creativity

    Research has shown that at least an average amount of creativity is necessary to become successful.

    Original people have the rare ability to think outside the box and can come up with new ideas and thoughts that can lead to prosperity.

    A new and fresh, unexplored idea or product has less competition. And a decreased amount of contention makes thriving easier since there’s less contest.

  • Agreeableness

    Agreeableness is a personality trait. This means that some people are inherently more agreeable than others.

    Agreeable people

    Image of the big 5 personality traits: conscientiousness, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and neuroticism, and the symptoms of them.

    Agreeable people are empathic, kind, forgiving, and want to please others, but have a hard time standing up for themselves.

    In negotiations, agreeable people often discuss more on behalf of others rather than their own. This makes them well-liked, but also likely to forego their own needs and desires for the sake of peace and preventing conflict.

    Disagreeable people

    Disagreeable people are unemphatic, harsh, tough, competitive, unwilling to sacrifice, and selfish. They have an easy time standing up for themselves and will negotiate primarily for their own sake.

    Disagreeable people have the advantage of being competitive, which motivates them to reach their goals, and are capable of not caring as much about other people or what they think. Thus, it’s much more effortless for them to go after their own goals.

    Of course, being disagreeable has its downsides as well.

    Success is typically achieved by cooperating with other people. Being extremely disagreeable can make working together with others difficult since they typically don’t play well with others.

  • Assertiveness

    Assertive people know what they want, and will stand up for themselves, while non-assertive people have a much harder time defending themselves.

    Being assertive is a quality that can be developed and is necessary to achieve success. Because some folks out there will straight up run you over without any remorse if they notice the inability to stand up for yourself, and for what you deserve.

Final note

Image of a hand holding a card with the word “conclusions” written in blue.

Practically everyone can learn how to become successful. Take note that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Becoming thriving isn’t done overnight because it involves a lot of hard work, intelligence, and time.

While we can’t influence our fluid intelligence, we can become better at the other key success factors. The most essential ones are conscientiousness and perseverance.

Ultimately, prosperity is dependent on how you measure it. And I don’t deem someone who has established a loving family any less than someone who started and owns a flourishing millionaire company.

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